Thursday, 24 November 2011

Top Christmas Tip!! A Turkey Named Jake The Peg. With His Extra Legs! Diddle,Diddle,Diddle Dum!

Well NORAD will be tracking Santa soon and you'll be fretting about the number of people you've invited for Christmas dinner after you said 'Never again' after last year. Well it's too late now but at least here is a way to get more breast meat from ya bird and enough brown leg meat for the savages to gnaw on. Buy a large fresh turkey crown which costs a lot less than a monster turkey from many good outlets and then seperately by as many turkey drumsticks as you need from your local major supermarket (Morrisons do the best deal) about £2.99 for 2 massive legs. I buy 4. That way, when you come to cook the turkey crown, you rest the breast joint on the legs in the roasting tin with a couple of carrots an onion some garlic cloves and a big slosh of white wine. This makes an amazing meaty stock inducing trivet. Cover the whole shaboodle in Roasting foil and slow cook. The leg meat will become incredibly tender whilst cooking and the steam from the broth created will ensure the white meat stays moist. When the breast meat is done remove the foil and drain off the stock and set aside to make the gravy. Now arrange the legs around the crown in the roasting tray and back in the oven to brown for about 15 minutes basting once with some of the broth. Voila! ''I'm Jake the Turkey, diddle diddle diddle dum, wid my extra legs diddle diddle diddle dum!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Winter's A Coming!! Time For Some Comfort Food! Pork Steaks With Apple Sauce & Red Leicester!

Well today was a chilly one, which led me to thinking I should share with you all one of my favourite, ''Can't wait to get home'' dishes that unfortunately is horribly fattening but oh so yummy and doesn't hurt once in a while. Pork steaks with apple sauce and Red Leicester cheese served with a caramelized red onion mash. It makes my juices flow just thinking about it. For 4 people you will need:-

4 Thick pork steaks. (Make sure the rind is cut off. This can be used seperately to make quick crackling)
2 Eating apples. Cox's works best I find.
4 Thick slices of a good Red Leicester cheese
Olive oil for frying
Salt and Pepper to season.

For the Caramelized red onion mash.
8 Medium sized potatoes. Maris Piper is favourite.
2 Large red onions
 Knob of butter and a splash of olive oil for frying
2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
Salt & Pepper to season.

Probably best to make the mash first, as this can be reheated before serving. Slice the Onions and place in a lidded frying pan with the olive oil , butter and brown sugar, start to fry on a medium heat turning the onions to cover in the oil and sugar and then cover with the lid and turn the heat down so as not to burn the contents. Fry gently, stirring occasionally until the onions turn a rich brown colour and look a little like melted toffee, take off the heat and set aside.
Slice the potatoes with the skins on and place in a large saucepan, rinse them thoroughly then cover with boiling water and simmer on the stove with a large pinch of salt until soft, drain and then mash with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, add the onions and any remaining oil from the pan to the potatoes and with a wooden spoon cream until smooth. Taste and season to suit.

For the apple sauce, peel, core and dice the apples and put in a small covered pan on a low heat with a 50mls of water. Cook until the apple turns to a soft mush and that's ya sauce sorted!

Heat a splash of olive oil in the pan that the onions cooked in and place the pork steaks in the oil to fry gently for at least 8 minutes on one side, resist the temptation to turn them. Season the side facing you with a little salt and pepper and then turn each one over and cook again for another 8 minutes. Now being pork it needs to be cooked all the way through, so with a sharp knife make 2 deep incisions in each steak to check that the meat is cooked all the way through, at this point if you are happy place a spoonful of your apple sauce on each one and then a slice of the cheese. Place under a hot grill until bubbling and serve immediately with the mash. Eat with a really good dry white wine and smile a lot as this plate of happiness warms you to the core!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Amazing Fig Cake! The Gluten Free Answer To Christmas Pud!!

Gluten! A word that strikes fear into the heart's of too many people these days, especially as Christmas is around the corner. Well on my recent trip to Portugal I was fortunate to eat in a fantastic small family restaurant where I discovered this little gem which I have tweaked to make this the perfect alternative to Christmas pudding, it contains no flour, eggs, milk, cream, or butter but tastes amazing and is also great cold with a cup of expresso. It is very dense and rich though so it tastes really indulgent and goes a long way as the portions do not need to be large!  To make 8 generous portions, you will need:-

250 gms of Soft dried figs blended to a paste
250 gms of Ground almonds                                                  
250 gms of Castor sugar
25   gms of good quality Cocoa
2.5  gms of Ground Cinnamon
2.5  gms of Ground Mixed Spice
Grated Zest/peel of half a lemon
150 mls of cold water.

Place the water, sugar, lemon zest, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice in a large saucepan, slowly heat to a boil and stir constantly for about 5 minutes to reduce to a point where if you drag a spoon through the mixture it leaves a brief wake exposing the base of the pan. At this point it gets really exciting and you have to be really quick. Add the ground almonds and the fig paste and stir like your life depends on it. The mixture will tighten immediately into a really thick paste like cookie dough. Make sure the almonds and figs are mixed thoroughly then remove from the stove. You will feel like you have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson but believe me it will be worth it. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes and then spoon out onto a smooth surface. At this point you can mould the mixture into individual shapes, a ball,  or any damn shape you want really. I prefer a  traditional shallow cake shape as it is easier to divide. Dust with icing sugar and serve with Ice cream, vanilla cream, custard or just on its own. It also tastes divine if you feed it before serving with a little Disarrono You can keep it in the fridge and slice a bit when you need it and just blitz it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Versatile, gluten free and although I say it myself, absolutely delicious!! Enjoy.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Work in progress!!

Just a quick note to everyone to say that I will be resuming shortly with a whole host of new recipes in the next few days. I am trying out some new and exciting salads, inspired by my trip to Portugal and as I speak I am working on a fabulous gluten free indulgent Christmas sweet treat that kicks the usual stodgy pud in the goolies!! Stay tuned lovely people!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Off To Portugal For Some Fishy Inspiration!!

Well sorry I have been sadly negligent lately with my blog but a few Family foibles put the mockers on my week, but hey ho these things are sent to try us. Anyhow, just a brief note to let you all know that my long suffering Wife Janey and I are off to Portugal for a little rest and some serious 'Foodie' research, so some more exciting recipes are on the cards on my return along with some fantastic recipes I have been working on. See you all in a week!! Ta ra!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Spiced Cream Of Cauliflower Soup! A comforting bowl of loveliness!

Well I've had a request for a cauliflower soup recipe, so as promised I am happy to oblige. This recipe is so easy to make and involves the surprising combination of light indian spices and parmesan which gives it a rich flavour with a real warming quality. You will need to feed 4 people and enough for seconds..

1 medium cauliflower
1 and half pints of good chicken stock
2 teaspoons of a good quality Indian Korma paste
1 tablespoon of a freshly grated parmesan
Half pint single cream
Salt & Black Pepper to season

Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place in a large saucepan with the chicken stock, bring to boiling point and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the cauliflower has become really soft and cooked through. Cool for half an hour and then add the Korma paste, blend with a hand blender or a food processor until completely smooth. Return to the saucepan and add the cream, bring up to a gentle simmer and add the parmesan, stir gently until the cheese has disappeared into the soup, now comes the tasting and seasoning. If you feel it needs a little more spice, then add a little more paste, if you feel it needs to be a little richer and deeper in taste then add a little more parmesan, when you are happy with the flavouring add the salt and pepper if required tasting all the time so not as to overdo it. This soup freezes well so you can make it in advance if required. Serve with warm crusty bread and a big cuddle from someone who loves you!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

One Pan 'Oxtail Estafado' Cooked On The Log Burner!!

Well, there it is, fresh lovely Oxtail for under 3 quid just starting to brown at the start of a 4 hour cook on our log burner which when finished will become a fantastic 'Estafado' a rich Spanish beef stew, but instead of adding brandy I give mine a Portuguese twist and use Port. For 4 people you will need.
1 half kilo of Oxtail.
2 large white onions, sliced.
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
Large sprig of thyme.
1 Big Glug of Port ( That's a technical term that is, honestly!)
1 large tin of chopped tomatoes
1 empty tomato tin of water with a gluten free beef stock cube in it!!

Brown the Oxtail in a little olive oil , add the onions and the garlic and cover. Cook until the onions and garlic have infused and softened. Chuck in the Port and cook for 2 mins to cook out some of the alcohol and then add the tomatoes, the water and stock and place the sprig of thyme in the centre of the pan, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Drink a bottle of wine with your friends and laugh, then check the Estafado and stir. Cover again and simmer for another hour, allowing you to crack open another bottle of wine, a good Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with it or a rich Rioja! Now the last hour is crucial as you don't want it to stick to the bottom of the pan as the sugars in the tomatoes and meat will now be starting to caramelise and thicken the stew as the liquid diminishes. When the meat just falls off the bones the Estafado is ready. Remove from the heat and crumble the meat off the bones and discard them. Serve the Estafado with some seasoned 'skin on' creamy seasoned mashed potatoes and some buttered winter greens!! Oh and some more wine. Drink, eat, be merry and laugh into the night!! enjoy

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Foodie Friends you have to follow!!

Right everyone, I am just starting out in the Blog business but these Guys & Girls you have to follow as though your life depends on it.,, . They are the 'Mutley's Nutley's when it comes to great English and European grub and much more besides! Join now!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Leftover Takeaway Curries??? Don't Chuck it away, save it for a Biryhani Day!

 How many times have we had an Indian takeaway and the dreggs of sauce from your Tikka Massala or Madras, Saag Aloo or Bhaji ends up in the bin? Too often? Well here is the answer. Keep a stock of small freezer bags to hand and everytime you have a takeaway pour the remaining sauces into them. Keep cream sauces and tomato based sauces seperated as they don't mix so well. Do the same with any leftover rice dishes as well. When you just fancy a curry for practically nothing just chop up a couple of chicken breasts add to a frying pan with a little olive oil and a large onion, fry until transparent and the chicken lightly browned, now take out of the freezer a couple of bags containing either your leftover cream or tomato sauces depending on which you fancy and a couple of bags of rice. Put the whole lot in a lidded casserole dish with the chicken and onions and bung in the oven on gas mark 6, 180 degreesC for 30 mins, take out give it a quick stir together and cook for another 10 minutes. Bish bash bosh, leftovers Chicken Biryhani! Delicious and supremely cheap for 2 or 3 people!! The vegetable dishes chucked in make it even better. Try it!

Breadcrumbs You Rock! LOVE YOUR LEFTOVER LOAF!!

How much bread do you throw away? You know the big chunky crusty ends or the rest of the loaf because you think you have spied a tiny patch of mould on a crust or it is just a bit too dry for your taste? Well shame on you!! Firstly take off that tiny piece of mould and stash the stale loaf in the freezer because there is hundreds of uses for it and no excuse for waste. Here are a just a few ideas.
Butter the frozen slices and layer them in a buttered oven dish with some left over Christmas mincemeat, or dried mixed fruit presoaked in rum or orange juice, castor sugar and when the dish is three quarters full pour in a tub of ready made supermarket custard thinned down with a little milk. Bake in the middle of the oven at Gas mark 6 or 180 degrees until bubbling and brown, remove from oven and sprinkle over the top some icing or castor sugar and return to the oven for 5 minutes, if you have some apricot jam this also makes a great topping. Remove from oven and serve this wonderful Cheats Bread & Butter Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream or Just Cream and then take a bow! Adding Chocolate chips instead of mincemeat or fruit and putting Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur in the custard is also to die for!!
Now back to the breadcrumbs! Blend the frozen slices of bread with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a food processor for the best damn breadcrumbs for making Southern Fried Chicken, or Wiener Shnitzel with pork fillets or veal. Keep them in labelled freezer bags in your freezer for use at any time.
Add different pestos to the slices before blending to use as toppings for grilled chicken, salmon or any white fish for an indulgent but cheap supper.
Stale bread can even be used to thicken summer cold vegetable soups. All these recipes will no doubt appear at a later date on this page but this is just a brief insight into the wonders of old bread.
Remember people LOVE YOUR LOAF!!!

Cookin' Wid Da Kids!! Quick Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies.Mmm!

After taking some time out today because of a hectic week ahead I had half an hour to spare. My Cousin's Children had asked me yesterday. ''Hey Big Mad Cookery Dad! How do ya make choc chip cookies?'' So I spent my half hour teaching them this simple but delicious recipe.
To make 12 reasonable Cookies, take.
200gms salted butter
1 large desert spoon of crunchy peanut butter
3 teaspoons of castor sugar
3 teaspoons of soft brown sugar
2 coffee mugs of plain flour
1 big lovely handful of chocolate chips.
In a mixing bowl blend the butter and peanut butter together until soft then add the sugars and flour and start to bring together add the choc chips and finish mixing until you have a stiff paste, if it is a little loose still, add a touch more flour. Spoon dollops of the mixture about 1 and half inches in diameter onto a greased baking tray and place in a warm oven Gas Mark 5 or about 160 degrees C for 15 minutes or until evenly brown.
Take out of oven and leave to cool as long as you can stand it before devouring the ruddy lot with a nice cup of tea!! except the kids took all of them away! (Weeping now.)

Ren's Delicious Apple Cake!!

Welcome to my fingernail chewing introduction to blogging Ren, I'm scared to death! Great to meet you at the Beeb last Saturday and I have to say your Apple Cake was to die for especially with a Vanilla Latte!! Your gonna have to share that recipe. Nice work and thanks for joining!!

Quick Cheats Corn Beef Hash!!

Hello again everyone, just before I dive off to earn a crust I thought I'd share this little gem with you which is great for a different brekky, a fantastic lunch or a post Pub indulgence and is cheap as chips to make and freezes well too so I always make extra so I've got some to fall back on. Here we go! For 4 people you will need-.
8 reasonably sized potatoes (I find red skinned ones the best).
2 medium onions (Red or White, your choice!)
1 tin of corned beef or 6 slices if it's from a deli counter.
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste.
4 eggs.

Wash the potatoes and slice up with the skins on, chop the onions roughly and bung the spuds and onions in a large saucepan with a good couple of pinches of salt, cover with boiling water from the kettle and whack on the stove to boil. After about 5 to 6 mins check with the point of a knife, you should be able to push a knife through the potato slices but they should still be firm. Remove from heat and drain, being careful not to lose any of the onion. Here comes the fun bit! Pour over a really good glug of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and a generous twist of black pepper, turn the contents of the pan gently with a spoon to coat the contents with the oil. Cube or crumble the corned beef into the saucepan and turn again to distibute it, then turn out mixture into a greased oven dish and place in a hot oven, gas mark 6 or 180 degrees for about 30 mins or until starting to brown and crisp, turn mixture once during cooking to get it all browned and crunchy and the onions sweet and caramelly (is that a word?). Once you are happy that it is even throughout, remove from the oven and crack the 4 eggs on top of the mixture and return to the oven until the whites are cooked. Remove and serve immediately. If you are making to freeze, this is done at the saucepan stage after adding the corned beef, leave to cool and place in freezer bags in whatever portions you require, and when required, cook from frozen in the oven dish, but it will obviously need about 10 minutes more in the oven. Enjoy!!

Monday, 24 October 2011

The best way to an epic Yorkie Pud!!

Ok! My first top tip. So many people have asked me ''Oi! Cookery Dad!  How do I go about making a show stopping Yorkie Pud?'' Well for one I never cheat and sell my soul to the 'Auntie Christ' Bessie!! No! No! No! Yorkshire pudding can be so easy but so many people try too hard and end up with a cake so here we go eyes down. Now, I  am not one for making individual Yorkies when I'm doing one with a roast as any left over can be successfully frozen in a freezer bag and used again if you fancy a meal for 2 that you need to pad out, by just chucking it back in the oven with whatever meat you are about to serve approximately 4 minutes before serving, or you can mince it with left over meat  and veg to make the base for a leftovers cottage pie, but more of that later. Right, the recipe, for 6 to 8 people, without boring weights!
3 coffee mugs of plain flour.
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of English mustard
Semi skimmed milk to thin mixture.
Add flour to a large mixing bowl, beat in the eggs, salt and mustard. Now keep beating the thick paste to introduce air into it as you add the milk bit by bit until the mixture is slightly thicker than double cream or engine oil if you are a true petrolhead. Keep beating preferably with a whisk to put as much air into the mixture as you can, this will create lift.
Now in a fairly shallow roasting tin, preferably the one you roast the lamb or beef in after you have removed the residual roasting juices for the gravy, put a large knob of beef dripping or a big glug of vegetable oil in then heat pan at the top of the oven at the highest heat possible. When smoking hot, take out and pour the Yorkie Pud batter in quickly covering the pan, re-introduce to the oven and turn down to gas mark 7 or about 200 degrees c, step back pour yourself a beer/wine and watch that sucker rise. Take out when entire pud is stiff and brown and lovely. Well done pat yourself on the back and take the applause you Pud Meister you!!

Here to help those who need help in the Kitchen!

Well here we go, my first ever post as Big Mad Cookery Dad. Cool! The aim of this hopefully inane blog is to help those out there who need a little guidance in the kitchen department, whether you be a man who has promised his latest flame a beautiful meal cooked by his own fair hand, when the only hot meal he has ever prepared is a Pot Noodle or a young lady who has partied hard and now wishes to settle down with a fellow called Darren from Chigwell who expects a joint on a Sunday when the only joint you have...... no stop it now, enough already!! Anyhow, what I am trying to say is that you don't have to be afraid of the kitchen anymore, just ask me, Big Mad Cookery Dad and I will help you with recipes and step by step help to get you through the stickiest of situations, from cooking a boiled egg to making fine cuisine, I'll hopefully get you through unscathed and we'll have a jolly good giggle along the way!!